Comedian Rickey Smiley experienced the tragic death of his son Brandon in January. On a recent episode of the Tamron Hall Show, the father of four shared a silver lining from his harrowing loss; his late son’s daughter helped him through “the worst day of my life,” which was the day of the funeral.
“God is so good. He let me just end my day by pushing my granddaughter on the swing,” said Smiley, 54.
The actor and radio personality has two grandchildren–grandson Grayson, 6, and granddaughter Storm, 3, who is fathered by his late son.
Hall commented on what a nurturing person Smiley is and how he’s raised nieces, nephews, children, and taken in other people without father figures over the years. She then noted that now his grandchildren are protecting his heart in many ways.
“Yeah, absolutely,” Smiley agreed. “I was gonna run home and change clothes to make it to the repass, and my granddaughter was there and I said, ‘okay, see you tomorrow.’ And she’s like, ‘no,’” The Rickey Smiley Morning Show host said. “And that was the first time ever that she had separation issues with me because she just usually goes home.”
He continued, “She began to cry and I was like, ‘well, you not gonna cry today. If you wanna swing, we’ll swing.’ To have that day where I’m actually pushing her on the swing, I can hear the swing squeak, I can hear the birds chirping. The sun was setting and it was cool that day and it was just quiet. It was just that peace that you described.”
Smiley found out his son passed away when he received a call from Brandon’s girlfriend telling him his son was unresponsive at his home in Birmingham, Ala. Smiley shared the news on social media shortly after as he headed to the airport. He says that moment with his granddaughter provided him with that sense of calm he’d been seeking.
“That peace and just the end of the day where you just buried your son, which is her dad, to push her on a swing like that. I just think it was just God giving me a sense of peace and comfort.”
Brandon died at the age of 32 from an alleged overdose. Rickey recently opened up about his son’s addiction on the Today show.
“He was struggling with that,” Smiley said. “His mother and I made several attempts to send him to get the help that he needed, to send him to rehab. We thought he was doing better. He had just joined the church, just got baptized again probably a month before he passed away.”
“He used,” he added. “And it killed him.”